December 31st, 2013 | Last updated: January 7th, 2014
DutchAmsterdam.nl — Amsterdam is beautiful any time of the year, and January is no exception — provided you dress for the occasion.
According to the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI1), January is the coldest month in most of the Netherlands. Along the sea coast February is slightly colder yet, when the water of the North Sea is at its coldest.
They weren’t kidding. Normally the average temperature in January is 5° Celcius (41° Fahrenheit). But the Netherlands just had the warmest January 3rd on record (since meteorological record keeping began, in 1901), with 11.9° Celcius (53.42° Fahrenheit). Not only that, but we also just experienced the warmest January 6th on record — 13.1° Celcius (55.58° Fahrenheit).
In fact, thus far this winter is the sixth warmest ever in the Netherlands.
That said, if you’re visiting Amsterdam this month there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Amsterdam temperatures usually are about 2 degrees lower than the averages given for the entire country
- In Holland ‘mild; weather often goes hand-in-hand with rain, and we did have quite a bit of that
- Also: ‘mild’ is still pretty cold. And don’t forget that the wind-chill factor often has a real bite to it
The weather professionals say that the weather currently is still very mild and somewhat changeable, but that during the rest of the week it will get less mild and more stable.
The long-range outlook, for the 14th through the 21st, calls for a 60% chance of somewhat changeable weather, with temperatures around normal. There is also a 20% chance of stable winter weather with somewhat lower temperatures.
Just like last year, January 2014 got off to a very mild start. Last year the middle of the month did bring a few days of snow, as evidenced in the photo above.
But let’s look at what’s normal: in Amsterdam the average temperature during the month of January is 2.7º Celsius (36.68º Fahrenheit). That’s cold, especially when there’s a stiff wind. It’s a rainy month as well.
You can also expect anywhere from five to eight days of snow.
Sure enough… this year Amsterdam, like the rest of the Netherlands, received a nice blanket of snow.
On average there will be 50 hours of sunshine — spread out over the entire month.
That said, while you may see many gray and gloomy days, from time to time there will be several hours worth of blue, cloudless skies. When that happens grab the opportunity to take postcard-perfect photographs of Amsterdam’s sunlit streets and canals. Since the trees are bare, many canal-side façades that are otherwise quite hidden from view are now more easy to see.
Mind you, we’re talking averages here. January can be much colder or much milder. January 2007 was so mild that birds, plants and trees were confused into acting like it was spring. Conversely, January 2010 turned out to be one of the snowiest in a long time.
As always, go with the flow. Plan to see some of Amsterdam’s many museums during inclement weather.
Tip: Films shown in Dutch movie theaters are shown in their original languages — subtitled in Dutch.
What to wear in Amsterdam in January
Protect your shoes with a waterproof spray.
Salt spots can be removed with a cloth and some vinegar.
Warm clothes are a must, and you will want to wear a winter proof/waterproof coat or jacket.
A good, windproof hat is not a luxury and no one will look at you funny if you happen to be wearing earmuffs.
Complete you outfit with a warm scarf and gloves.
Don’t forget warm socks and padded insoles.
As always, dress in layers because restaurants, café’s and homes are well-heated.
Amsterdam weather facts: January
• Average lows: -0.5° C (31° F)
• Average highs: 4.4° C (40° F)
Sunrise & Sunset
• January 1 – 8:51 a.m. / 4:38 p.m.
• December 31 – 8:24 a.m. / 5:26 p.m.
• Average 72mm (2.8 inches) in 72 hours
- Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute ↩
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